Home' Aurora : Aurora August 2015 Contents 14
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine
I read recently that in some parts of the
world Catholics are being conver ted
to other Christian churches which now
appear to better represent equality for all.
The inequalities fostered by
clericalism have been
par ticularly damaging.
equal by those-with-
the-power, must be
viewed as some of
the worst un-Christian
behaviour s imaginable.
Some religious sisters and
brother s have also used their positions
of power to cruelly treat those entrusted
to them for nurture and care. Ireland has
suffered this greatly.
Such perceptions of inequality must have
been a significant motivator in the psyche,
if not the conscious voting minds, of the
Irish. How could they protest abusive
inequality? How could they make a
stand for equality? Here was a popular
momentum at a critical time – its rallying
cry “Marriage Equality!”
Equality is greatly valued. Equality is the
basis of justice. The desire to achieve it
is power ful.
Likewise with love.
We recall joyfully and with pride the
words said of the early Christians by
edified and admiring pagans, “See how
they love one another.” It was self-giving,
self-sacrificing, other-centred love they
were pr aising.
Conversely, our dismay and shame must
be equivalent as we consider the self-
gratification, the self-interest, and the
self-serving indifference to the sufferings
of vic tims of clerical abuse and cover-up.
Child abuse is love’s opposite. Covering it
up is not love. There is no admiration for
this behaviour, no edification from it.
Do we really wonder that the Irish
have voted for what they perceive as
“love” and “equality” contr ar y to the
promptings of the bishops who, in much
of the popular imagination, have come to
suggest the opposite?
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“This is not how you raised us to behave!”
I once witnessed young-adult children
remonstrating with a parent in these
terms. The parent had decided on a
course of action at odds with the values
and behaviours previously taught and
witnessed. The parent acknowledged
that these were children to be proud of,
children well raised.
This scene came to mind as I considered
the news reports on Ireland’s
referendum concerning 'marriage
equality'. I asked myself if the various
generations of Irish voters were perhaps
championing values that had been well
planted in their souls while, at the same
time, protesting against their perception
of a parent – the Catholic Church – that
has not lived well in accord with its
Should the Church in Ireland be
recognising that its children have
internalised vital Catholic values and
are now challenging the Church over its
failure to prac tise what it
One commentator said, “Ireland can
no longer be called a Catholic country.”
Culturally things have changed greatly,
but I wonder if we are not seeing an
Ireland struggling to be more genuinely,
I wonder this because I sense the driving
force behind the 'yes' vote victor y in
Ireland is one of fundamental values that
all must applaud and suppor t – namely
the equality of all human beings, and
the supreme value of love in human
relationships. These are Christian values,
(I hasten to add that I
also believe the laudable
objective of enshrining
these values is not
so easily by Ireland’s
referendum result and
other countries’ legislation,
and could possibly be
damaged by them. The
aspiration I applaud.)
Equality is highly valued by human
beings. It is not so well regarded by those
who are ‘more equal’ than others. Those
who don’t have it, and aspire to, pursue
it passionately. It was Christian witness to
the equality of all humans that strongly
attrac ted and motivated repressive
caste societies such as Korea to embrace
Catholicism when that doctrine
championed by Catholics was
IS THE CHILD TEACHING
will further the
cause of love and
to be seen.
Dublin, Ireland. Supporters of the marriage equality proposal celebrate their victory in front of Dublin Castle.
Are we surprised the bishops’ arguments
against “marriage equality” went unheard
and were not carefully considered, given
their widespread loss of moral authority?
Whether in pr ac tice 'marriage equality'
will fur ther the cause of love and equality
in our societies remains to be seen. What
I observe is the belief by those who
voted “yes” that it will. The hear t is in the
right place. It is where parent Christianity
has been telling her children it should
be, where the perpetrator heart and the
indifferent hear t have not been.
As imper fect as the child’s application of
the lesson may or may not be, the drive
is to champion the values of equality and
love. The child is calling back the parent
to the lessons she taught and the values
Parent and child should search together
for what is genuine equality and tr ue love,
and embrace it, and combine to make it
real in our society.
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